How to Bypass Winch Solenoid – (Step By Step)

Faulty voltage may sometimes be the reason for the coil burning out. When you switch it on, you might have a clicking sound merely, rather than the motor getting started. It may be one reason the voltage is too weak, or the starter motor gets frozen. To identify the main culprit, you need to bypass the starter solenoid. Unfortunately, most people do not know how to bypass the winch solenoid properly.

This guide will focus on winch solenoid bypass step by step so you can easily understand how to do it. But before, let’s know why it’s necessary and why we need it.

Need a winch solenoid?

  1. Top Pick: KanSmart solenoid & rocker switch combo
  2. Best Overall: Albright 4 terminal golf cart solenoid
  3. Best Value: Estink contactor relay for winches

Why Do We Need To Make A Solenoid Bypass?

Tedious testing and diagnosing the entire electrical system connected with your winch will probably reduce your maintenance expense to a minimum. We should make sure that the equipment we rely on remains reliable.

Solenoid bypass is a way to test if the winch motor is working correctly. Once that is set, you can move on to the next connection to your winch motor. After all, purchasing replacement wires, switches, and even the winch solenoid is more affordable than replacing the winch motor.

Why Does A Winch Solenoid Necessary Even If We Bypass It?

Technically, a winch motor is directly connected to the power source, and it works unless there are no issues with the winch motor. However, it is not always a recommended method to practice regularly. Excessive use of bypass winch motor may increase the risk of damaging it.

The winch solenoid works as a ‘power regulator’ to the motor. Without this magnetic force, the winch motor may draw more electric flow than it supposes to pass. The solenoid is designed to prevent the winch motor from heating up excessively and is also the connecting point from the winch to the control switches (whether it is on your dashboard or handheld control switch box).

Equipment Required?

  1. Protective Gears – Safety Glasses & Safety Gloves
  2. Vehicle Jumper Cables (preferably 2-sets)
  3. Wrench or Ratchet Set
  4. Manufacturer’s Manual – It will help inform you of the electrical layout of your winch motor model.
  5. Electrical Diagram – It is highly recommended for DIY individuals or those starting to learn about winch repairs.

Take note of these scenarios (you might face) before performing any of the steps:

Scenario A: Doing a bypass for Testing/Repairing Your Winch Motor

  • Once you have taken down your winch from your vehicle, for safety purposes, secure your winch on your working platform by strapping it down with something heavy or bolting it to a fixed object. Winch motors produce a large amount of torque when activated. It will spin or bounce around if you do not have it secured.

Scenario B: Doing a Bypass Outdoors, in the Middle of an Operation or Emergency

  • Let’s assume a situation for example where the winch gets malfunctions in the middle of its performance, and you do not have enough time to diagnose your entire winch electrical system. It may be an emergent circumstance where immediate heavy lifting is required or lifting multiple loads consecutively. You may need to do a quick bypass as a last-ditch effort.
  • While making your bypass, make sure your winch motor is free of any obstacles and covered by any environmental elements (in case of rainy weather).

Steps on How to Bypass Winch Solenoid/ in Doing a Solenoid Bypass

  1. At first, set the winch to the free spool before making any movements on the electrical system. Make sure there is no load the winch pulling right that time. It will avoid accidents and make your winch testing straightforward. Some winch models have small knobs you can turn to activate the free spool state. On the other hand, some others require a ratchet. The best practice is to refer to the manufacturer’s manual for this testing.
  2. Disconnect the terminals from your power source if the power source is your vehicle’s battery. Turn off your car engine then, wait for a couple of minutes to ensure the electrical current has dissipated. Disregard if the winch power source is from a separate battery.
  3. You may now carefully remove the leads (starting with the Positive/RED) from your solenoid connected to your battery.

Shop here

Connecting the Jumper Cables

  • a) Having a clear understanding of your electrical diagram is crucial. If you need to build up your confidence regarding this, browse through your diagram repeatedly.
  • b) Check your winch motor for metal posts labeled: A, F1 & F2.
  • c) Take the FIRST jumper cable and attach the red lead to posts A and F1. (No need to use the black cable of your first jumper)
  • d) Now take the SECOND jumper cable. Its black cable will serve as the grounding wire.
  • e) Clamp one side of the BLACK onto a metal casing of the winch motor and attach the other end to a separate metal.
  • f) Clamp the RED cable to the POSITIVE post on your car battery now.
  • g) Carefully take the other end of the RED cable and attach it to the F2 post on your winch motor.

Note: Upon completion of the circuit, it should start spinning immediately.

If it does not spin, do not leave the red lead clamped for too long as it will heat up immediately.

Checking Out the Opposite Spin of Your Motor

It is the same as the step above but with minor changes:

  • Doing Step 3. c – this time, you will clamp the RED cables to post A and F2
  • Doing Step 3. g – this time, connect the RED cable from your battery to post F1.

Carefully look and you’ll find that the winch motor is spinning from the opposite direction.

Anyway, do you know winch fairleads selection is also a vital point in selecting your winch? Here is a guide on winch fairleads, you can check for a better understanding.

Recommendation of Winch Solenoid

KanSmart Winch Solenoid Relay

Winch Solenoid Relay


Compatible with almost all vehicles from ATV/UTV to Jeep or SUV. It has the latest version accessories to ensure it is easy to install and long-lasting. Solid and weather-resistant steel is its main component, so there’s no worry of corrosion.

This surface-mounted solenoid has a rocker switch, great durability, and is manufactured following 100% OEM standards. So, it exceeds the doubt of quality performance. It is reliable, user-friendly, and up-to-date. If you like this solenoid, you can click here to reach out on Amazon.

Features and Components

  • KanSmart solenoid is rated at 250 amps,
  • It comes with a rocker switch,
  • The alloy steel is its component,
  • Surface mounting style,
  • Corrosion resistant,
  • Compatibility with all 12v winch system
  • Comes with M8 input/output terminals

Overall this black surface universal solenoid relay is a perfect choice for a 12v winch.

In Detail

KanSmart OEM-rated solenoid works with almost all brands. It comes with four input and output terminals and negative and positive indicators.

Kmart introduces the universal solenoid relay you can trust for its sturdy, weather-resistant construction. This combo kit is OEM standard and has praiseworthy ratings from many satisfied customers.

You’ll like its black powder coat surface that protects it from rust. The solid alloy steel construction is durable and applicable for better functioning.

It has 6x indicators and protective caps so you can easily identify to connect to the winch and battery. The adjustable power directions will protect your electrical components. The 250A-rated solenoid system is universal and compatible with almost all vehicles – ATV, UTV, Jeep, and even Polaris is not left.

Hopefully, it will serve you without any distress. However, be cautious while connecting with the battery. Intimacy with mater may cause danger.


Congratulations! You have completed your winch solenoid bypass testing. Once you have made your bypass and your winch motor is working successfully, you should now start going through the rest of your electrical components. Resolve which source is malfunctioning.

Tending to your electrical work may seem simple but by no means an easy task if you’re an average joe. Starting with smaller items such as your winch motor is a good idea. Then, if you continue practicing it safely and carefully, you will be able to learn a lot of things, and it will eventually save you time and money.

Hopefully, this guide will help you know how to bypass winch solenoids. You can also read more things like this here.

Related Posts

  1. Best Electric Boat Trailer Winch Reviews
  2. How To Wire A Winch On A Trailer – Step by Step Guide
  3. What Size Winch Do I Need For A Car Trailer?


Leave a Comment